Babuji, 1908-1986

Babu Jagjivan Ram's political story reads like a modern-day epic. Emerging from the soiled backwoods of caste-plagued Bihar where opportunities were limited and life was severe, this determined crusader scaled heights of success unrivalled by any other person in post- Independence history. He was respectfully called Babuji (Father) by one and all.

In retrospect what Babuji did seems unreal. Imagine having an uninterrupted parliamentary career spanning over half-a-century, a world record in political longevity. Or standing for the election and returning unopposed on no less then three occasions. Or being instrumental in making India self- sufficient in food at a time when it was at the mercy of Western left-overs. Or acquiring a legendary status for his super-efficiency and his staggering capacity for work. Or as the Defence Minister, guiding the country to its greatest military triumph - the war of 1971, which created Bangladesh.